When I hear that a wholesale distribution company is providing accurate inventory counts to their Sales reps every morning, I have to wonder why they use the word “accurate”. The moment a product is shipped, received, or adjusted in any manner, the report is no longer accurate and the sales rep has a worthless document (a waste of paper).
Empowering your sales reps with the right tools can help them to build better relationships and, in return, generate more revenue for the business. However, providing them with data that will likely be inaccurate in a very short time, such as “Daily Inventory Counts”, could have an adverse effect. If a sales rep thinks product is available and relays that information to their customer, when the product turns out to be unavailable the customer will not be happy, and the relationship could become strained. Even worse, the product that was not sold by your company might now be sold by one of your competitors as the customer might go to them to purchase the product.
In order to provide your sales staff with accurate inventory levels at all times, here are two must-haves:
Perpetual inventory is the ability of your operational software to maintain an accurate account of your inventory throughout the day while product is being shipped, received, ordered, adjusted etc. If there is any movement of a specific product, your perpetual inventory system will be able to account for that movement and when requested, provide you with the accurate information you need.
As part of perpetual inventory functionality, most ERP software will provide you with information such as “Units on Hand”, “Units Available”, “Units on (Purchase) Order”, and even “Units on Back Order”.
This information will allow you to manage your inventory throughout your day-to-day operations.
Access to the Information
If your sales reps are in the office, access to this key information is normally as easy as opening a panel in your software to review the applicable product and note the quantities. If you have external sales reps or salespeople on the road, it is still possible to provide then with direct access to your ERP software through devices such as laptops, iPads / tablets, and even your cell phone.
Not knowing what inventory is in your warehouse, or when you expect to receive a shipment, can cause customer relationship problems and a loss of sales revenue.
In today’s world, a sales rep does not have to be kept in the dark.